The Truth About Jaden Smith Is Tumbling Out

There has been much discussion about so-called nepo babies, offspring of celebrities who attempt to capitalize on the fame of their parents to become celebrities themselves, with varying degrees of success. Without question, Jaden Smith is among the most victorious in this quest. The son of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith —and sibling of "Whip My Hair" singer Willow Smith — Jaden has starred in movies like "The Karate Kid" and "After Earth" and even launched a fashion line, MSFTSrep, which includes a collection inspired by his psychedelic trips. "It's loaded with spiritual experiences and mystical states," he said of the line in an interview with Mr. Porter. Additionally, Smith has enjoyed a successful career as a rapper, which has included a hit collaboration with Justin Bieber, "Never Say Never," and even dabbling in the world of K-pop.

When it comes to fame, Smith has an understandably unique experience because he's been a celebrity since he was in diapers. "People were following me around when I was in a stroller," he told Mr. Porter. "Before I could speak, I could feel the presence of people I didn't know who were interested in me."

Through it all, he's never failed to march to the beat of his own idiosyncratic drummer. As he grows older and increasingly steps out from under the shadow of his famous parents, the truth about Jaden Smith is tumbling out.

Jaden Smith was embarrassed by PDA from dad Will Smith

Parents, whether they intend to or not, seem to have an uncanny knack for behavior that irritates their kids. For Jaden Smith, who has been accompanying his parents on red carpets since he was a toddler, that embarrassing behavior has come from Will Smith's tendency to kiss his son on the lips. As Jaden explained, it might have been cute when he was a little kid but significantly more awkward for him once adolescence kicked in. 

"I'm kind of always surrounded by people I'm comfortable with, so it's hard to get embarrassed if you're just around family and friends. But it's pretty embarrassing when my dad tries to kiss me on the mouth in public. That's pretty embarrassing," he said during an interview in 2013 with Cambio.

"We were in Korea. He tried to kiss me on my mouth in the press conference," he recalled. "And on 'Ellen,' he tried to kiss me, and I almost flipped the couch over. So, that was a good time." He clarified that he has no real problem accepting physical affection from his dad but would prefer it take place in private. "I appreciate the love," he explained. "But there's a time and a place to kiss somebody."

The failure of their film After Earth created a serious rift with his dad

Speaking of "After Earth," the 2013 film featured Jaden Smith co-starring with his father, Will Smith. Unfortunately, plans for the movie to be the first in a blockbuster trilogy were scuttled when it underperformed at the box office and received scathing reviews. 

Writing in his 2021 memoir "Will," the actor admitted the film's failure affected him far more personally than other flops he'd been in, given that it was a labor of love that involved the whole family (His wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, was a producer). "'After Earth' was an abysmal box office and critical failure," he shared in an excerpt published in People, noting that it was his son who received the lion's share of the criticism being doled out. "And what was worse was that Jaden took the hit," he continued. "Fans and the press were absolutely vicious; they said and printed things about Jaden that I refuse to repeat. Jaden had faithfully done everything that I'd instructed him to do, and I had coached him into the worst public mauling he'd ever experienced." 

When Jaden subsequently toyed with the idea of becoming an emancipated minor, his father was convinced that the drubbing he'd taken for "After Earth" was the reason. "At 15 years old, when Jaden asked about being an emancipated minor, my heart shattered," Will wrote." He ultimately decided against it, but it sucks to feel like you've hurt your kids."

He's got some seriously esoteric interests

Whenever he's asked to discuss what he's been reading, Jaden Smith has mentioned some books that won't be found on The New York Times Best Seller List. For example, when asked by Time to single out his favorite philosopher, he named Edgar Cayce, a self-professed psychic and faith healer who claimed to have clairvoyantly visited the lost city of Atlantis. "He's the one that started the category of New Age, and he made a lot of predictions," Smith said. "You should check him out."

He revealed even more when interviewed by T magazine, detailing what he'd been reading at that time. "'The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life' and ancient texts; things that can't be pre-dated," he said, referring to a two-volume tome about sacred geometry.

In an interview with Vulture, Smith shared even more of his personal philosophy, which includes an interest in math — albeit not the kind of math that most people would comprehend. "I think that there is that special equation for everything, but I don't think our mathematics have evolved enough for us to even — I think there's, like, a whole new mathematics that we'd have to learn to get that equation," he explained. "It's beyond mathematical. It's, like, multidimensional mathematical, if you can sort of understand what I'm saying." Spoiler alert: nobody does.

Jaden Smith isn't a big believer in the education system

Jaden Smith had been homeschooled before attending the New Village Leadership Academy — a private school founded by his parents, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith — until it shut down in 2013. He made his feelings about traditional education crystal clear when he tweeted, "School Is The Tool To Brainwash The Youth," and in another tweet, "If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society."

Homeschooling for the Smith kids apparently took a very nontraditional path. "Me and my sister started this initiative called Mystery School. It dates back to like ancient Egypt, ancient Greece — like Plato, Pythagoras, all these students had mystery schools," he explained in an interview with GQ. "And what they learned in there was sacred. They would learn the math and sciences of that generation, and then they would build the cities and give that energy and that knowledge to the other people. And a lot of stuff they would keep really, really to themselves."

The way Smith sees it, education should be a lifelong process that isn't confined to a classroom. "Here's the deal: School is not authentic because it ends," he said in his chat with T magazine. "It's not true, it's not real. Our learning will never end. The school that we go to every single morning, we will continue to go to."

He built a replica of the Giza pyramid in his backyard

Jaden Smith is a hands-on guy who likes to create his own stuff, ranging from clothing to furniture. "Like, the clothes I'm wearing right now, done it on my own. I built my own bed, I built my own closet, um, I built two closets, I built four beds," he explained in that interview with GQ, adding, "I built, um, one pyramid."

Say what? "It's at my parents' house," he revealed, admitting he hadn't managed to complete the entire project. "Half of a pyramid. The tip is missing, but the whole structural thing is built, and it sits at 12.5 feet tall," he said, revealing his intention was to create an exact replica, to scale, of the Great Pyramid at Giza. "So I was like, 'I want to have a missing tip on here, too.' Because I copied the exact 57.1 degrees that the Giza pyramid is," Smith explained. 

As for why he built a pyramid in his parents' backyard, he explained that the project was an outgrowth of the "mystery school" in which he studied with sister Willow as an exploration of various mathematical concepts. "So I'm studying trigonometry and building pyramids," he told I-D Magazine, according to Vibe. "I'm about to build three more that I'm going to be living in, sleeping in and spending all my time in."

He sees fame as a social experiment

In addition to studying sacred geometry and building backyard pyramids, Jaden Smith and his sister Willow view their creative pursuits in music, acting, and other areas as a form of research. "Me and Willow are scientists," he told GQ. "So everything for us is a scientific test upon humanity. And luckily we're put in a position where we can affect large groups of human beings at one time." 

In fact, Smith revealed to GQ that the earlier interview he and Willow gave to T magazine — in which they discussed prana energy and claimed to be able to speed or slow the passage of time — was intended to see if their words would stir up the kind of response that they'd expected. "That experiment — it went really, really well," Smith explained. "We got to see how people reacted. And they actually ended up reacting exactly as we predicted beforehand that they would react."

So, should everyone take Smith's wackier pronouncements with the proverbial grain of salt? According to him — probably. "It's fun, bro," he said of his experimentation with his own celebrity, and how others respond to it. "That's what a lot of people don't realize ... It's so much fun. It's the best thing."

He dressed like Batman for the Kimye wedding

Jaden Smith has long been recognized for his idiosyncratic sartorial style, but things took an odd turn when he began showing up at events costumed in an all-white version of Batman's crimefighting uniform. Smith first wore the outfit to the wedding of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian – the bride's sister, Kourtney Kardashian, posted a photo of herself with Bat-Jaden on Instagram. A year later, he attended a high school prom in the same getup.

"I wore the Batman suit to heighten my experience at the wedding and prom which was fun, but also at the wedding I felt as though I needed to protect everyone there and needed to have the proper gear to do so," the wannabe superhero told GQ, presumably while maintaining a straight face. He dusted off the costume one more time, suiting up as the Caped Crusader in the music video for a rap single that was appropriately titled "Batman."

As Smith told GQ, the clothing he chooses to wear reflects how he happens to feel on a particular day — which occasionally includes a hankering to fight crime in Gotham City. "I'm just expressing how I feel inside, which is really no particular way because everyday it changes how I feel about the world and myself, but I like wearing super drapey things so I can feel as though I'm a superhero, but don't have to necessarily wear superhero costumes everyday," he explained.

His mom introduced him to psychedelic drugs

Jaden Smith says it was his mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, who first got him involved with psychedelic drugs. "I think it was my mom, actually, that was really the first one to make that step for the family," he revealed at the Psychedelic Science conference, according to USA Today. "It was just her for a really, really long time and then eventually it just trickled and evolved and everybody found it in their own ways."

According to Vibe, his first psychedelic trip led him to forge an intense connection with another living organism — albeit one covered with roots, bark, and leaves. "I felt like I fully was connected with nature and with a tree, specifically one specific tree that I felt like ... I just had an indescribable experience with the tree," he said.

According to Smith, the mind expansion that he's undergone due to his dabbling in hallucinogenics has provided him with a set of new tools to settle familial disputes. "It will actually help us to open up our minds to get out of the old ways of thinking that got us into lots of these arguments and open it up so that it just releases and makes room for you to work it out and massage it out until it's completely gone," he explained. 

He reads and writes poetry — a lot!

With endeavors including rap music, fashion design, and pyramid building, Jaden Smith is something of a 21st-century renaissance man. He cemented that characterization when he revealed that he's also a major aficionado of poetry as both a reader and writer. 

"I probably read three, four, five poems a day, and I probably write one a day," he said while interviewed for Tim Westwood TV. His taste in poetry tends toward the classics, including the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and William Shakespeare.

When asked if he had a poem on deck he could share, Smith struggled to remember one. Eventually, part of one of his poems sprang to mind, and he recited what he could recall of it. "Have I spoken too soon? Broken your heart and took your love as a token, oh can I please apologize, swallow pride before I traumatize our childhood," he began. "Should we have just stayed friends until our days end? Because instead of her being undressed, we would have been upset and loveless. But your pretty eyes and our gritty minds make silly vibes."

Jaden Smith refuses to be categorized as human

Jaden Smith has never been someone who's been easy to categorize, and apparently, that also extends to his species. "I Am Not A Human And I Don't Speak English," he declared in a 2018 tweet. When he was subsequently interviewed by HuffPost, he was given the opportunity to clarify what he meant, but his explanation presented more questions than it answered. "That's true!" he said. "Because I'm not gonna be categorized as a human. Oh, humans are supposed to do this or act like this or people are supposed to act like this or people are supposed to be this. I'm my own thing."

As strange as that response might be, Smith hinted at a deeper meaning behind it when he spoke with Dazed, revealing that his rarefied celebrity upbringing meant that he didn't experience the same kind of connections with other children that most people have. "I didn't always get to hang out with normal people when I was young," he explained.

In fact, that was something that came to weigh on him as he grew older. The realization of how abnormal his life actually is, when compared to that of the average non-nepo baby, was manifested in the way others responded to him. "People treat me like I'm not a normal human so much," he explained. "You start to believe [it], like, 'Am I not a normal human?'"

He takes being called crazy as a compliment

As Jaden Smith has explained, he's made it something of a hobby to manipulate the media by tweeting outrageous statements and saying wacky things in interviews to gauge the reaction. "People think you're crazy — I feel like it's an honor, actually, for people to think I'm crazy," he told GQ while immodestly comparing himself to a legendary scientific trailblazer. "Because they thought Galileo was crazy, too, you know what I'm saying? I don't think I'm as revolutionary as Galileo, but I don't think I'm NOT as revolutionary as Galileo."

For Smith, being characterized as crazy isn't merely something he sees as an accolade — it's also something of an aspiration. "I have a goal to be just the most craziest person of all time," he explained in his chat with T magazine. "And when I say craziest, I mean, like, I want to do like Olympic-level things. I want to be the most durable person on the planet." 

As he told GQ, crazy has actually become his life's work and his most important pursuit. "My whole life is just dedicated on learning and breaking, like, the craziest records of life, and being like one of the craziest human beings to ever exist," he declared. "That's me."

He's planned on disappearing from public view since he was 13

If Jaden Smith were to suddenly vanish from the public eye one day — like legendary screen idol Greta Garbo or the once ubiquitous but now reclusive fitness guru Richard Simmons — fans can't say they weren't warned. 

In his 2015 interview with GQ, Smith was asked where he saw himself in 10 years. "Gone," he said. 

"No one will know where I am in 10 years," he added, explaining that he may occasionally reappear to create a top-secret public art installation with arcane symbols identifying to those in the know that he was behind it all. "They'll see me pop up, but they'll be like, 'Where'd you come from?' No one will know," he explained. "No one will know where I'm at. No one will know who I'm with. No one will know what I'm doing. I've been planning that since I was like 13."